First Amendment News

California state legislature votes to save struggling newspapers

The California legislature threw the state’s newspapers a bone as it delayed for a year the new labor law requiring them to convert contract carriers to employees. Legislators were concerned that if the law were implemented immediately, it would be a death knell for the state’s ethnic media. (Courthouse News Service, August 31, 2020, by Nick Cahill and Martin Macias Jr.) For earlier FAC coverage, click here and here.

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Trump administration suspends in person intelligence briefings to Congress

The Director of National Intelligence announced he would no longer brief Congress in person leading up to the November election, only provide written updates. The Democratic leadership replied with consternation, “This is a shocking abdication of its lawful responsibility to keep the Congress currently informed, and a betrayal of the public’s right to know how foreign powers are trying to subvert our democracy,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a joint statement with Rep. Adam

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Trump administration strikes back at journalists

The Trump administration said it was compiling a dossier on a Washington Post reporter, David Fahrenthold, after the Post published a story by Fahrenthold and two other reporters on how Trump’s company charged the U.S. govenment over $900,000 for rooms and services at Mar-a-Lago. A Trump spokesperson said the Post was interfering with the business of the Trump organization and must stop. (CNN, August 27, 2020, by Oliver Darcy) The spokesperson said the story was

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Journalists’ right to report taking a hit in Portland

A panel for the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that a lower court order restraining federal agents from assaulting and arresting journalists lacked clarity and was overly broad. The court wrote that journalists should not be exempt from orders to disperse along with other citizens on the streets. The sides are still ordered to discuss how to identify federal agents, and ideas have been floated on how to clearly identify legal observers. (Courthouse

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Federal court scuttles part of the Anti-Riot Act

A federal appeals court torpedoed part of the anti-riot law used by the Trump administration against individuals accused of inciting civil protests following the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis this year. A three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the language of the Anti-Riot Act was overbroad in including speech protected by the First Amendment. However, the panel found that federal authorities could still use the act against those who

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